Leigh Harline

Active - 1934 - 2020  |   Born - Mar 26, 1907   |   Died - Jan 1, 1969   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Musical, Romance, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A graduate of the University of Utah, American composer Leigh Harline was a musical director for local LA radio when he was tapped by Walt Disney to score the Silly Symphonies cartoon series in 1932. Harline had nothing to do with the first hit song from the Disney factory, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf," but he made up for this oversight with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In collaboration with Frank Churchill, Larry Morey, and Paul J. Smith, Harline was responsible for such immortal tunes as "I'm Wishing," "Whistle While You Work," "Heigh Ho" and "Some Day My Prince Will Come." Immensely satisfied with this Hit Parade lineup, Disney retained Harline's services for his next cartoon feature, Pinocchio (1939). In collaboration with Ned Washington and Paul J. Smith, Harline won an Academy Award for the Pinocchio opening-credits song "When You Wish Upon a Star," which would later become Disney's signature theme for his TV series. Harline left Disney in 1941 to compose for other studios (among his more memorable projects was the Hope-Crosby vehicle Road to Utopia [1945]), briefly returning to Uncle Walt for 1947's Fun and Fancy Free. Leigh Harline spent most of the '50s at 20th Century-Fox, then freelanced again, wrapping up his career in 1965 with the Universal Rock Hudson/Gina Lollobrigida comedy Strange Bedfellows.

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